There’s hope that high school sports will resume in the fall. But will football be among them?
Last Thursday, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced during a Zoom press conference that schools, which closed in March as a results of the coronavirus outbreak, are scheduled to reopen in the fall. He also said that he expects sports to be available.
But not all sports are created equal when it comes to physical distancing, and football is at the top of that list.
On June 5 Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced guidance for sporting activities in Phases 2 and 3 of the state’s four-phase plan for reopening. In Phase 2 teams can practice in a limited fashion, and in Phase 3 teams can resume playing games. Most of the state is currently in Phase 2, including Snohomish County.
However, there are restrictions on playing games in Phase 3. The total gathering at one game cannot exceed 50 individuals, and football games usually consist of far more individuals than that.
Football is also a sport that consists of a large amount of contact, with the whole point of the sport being players converging, rather than distancing themselves. When it comes to coronavirus, football is a far different beast than cross country or tennis.
“You mention football,” Reykdal said in the press conference. “There certainly are some sports more conducive than 50-100 people on a sideline packed together, and certainly a line of scrimmage. So it kind of comes down to some of that stuff, it’s, ‘How often is there contact?’ The Department of Health will once again drive most of that regulation.”
There’s no set timeline on when guidance is expected to be announced for high school sports. The WIAA, which is the governing body of the state’s high school sports, is working with the Department of Health to create those guidelines, but Reykdal said it could be weeks before that guidance is announced.
Football is the most popular high school sport, at least based on attendance and website hits. But it would seem to be the sport most at danger of being unable to accommodate restrictions intended to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
So what do you think? Do you think there will be high school football in the fall? Let us know here: